07 Jan 2019

Exile and Restoration

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness–on them light has shined.” Isa 9:2 NRSV The prophet Isaiah lived at an unusual point in the history of the Israelite people. His prophetic ministry overlapped the Assyrian conquest of Israel in 722 BCE and their subsequent siege of Jerusalem in the days of King Hezekiah (2 Kings 19). The beginning chapters of the book

Jarrett Dickey 0
21 Dec 2018

Spending Advent With Bob Dylan

Advent is my favorite season of the liturgical year. It is a season of expectation, preparation, and self-reflection. The Church meditates on the mystery of the Incarnation at Christ’s first coming while considering his second coming. So we turn our attention inward where, to the best of our ability, we disclose those parts of us requiring to be handed over to the Refiner’s Fire for purgation (Mal 3:2). In Advent the reality of divine judgment

Wesley Walker 0
29 Oct 2018

The Terrifying God

Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; if only I could vanish in darkness, and thick darkness would cover my face! (Job 23:15-17 NRSV) The book of Job opens with a description of the character of Job as a “blameless and upright” man who “feared God and turned away from evil” (Job 1:1). In the

Jarrett Dickey 0
26 Oct 2018

The Priesthood of the Church

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” – 1 Peter 2:9 (RSV) As an Anglican priest, I am often reminded by my Baptist friends that members of the Church are part of the “universal priesthood of believers.” I have no serious qualms with this terminology but I also

Wesley Walker 2
13 Jan 2017

In Defense of Passing the Collection Plate

When I was in high school, I really started to get serious at my faith because of a Calvary Chapel church in my area. While as an Anglo-Catholic my faith is quite different now, I greatly appreciate my brief sojourn with Calvary Chapel. I was reminiscing about those days recently and was reminded that one of the major distinctives of Calvary Chapel churches is that they do not pass a collection plate. Instead, churchgoers are

Wesley Walker 0
12 Aug 2016

It’s Time to Stop Treating “Religion” Like a Bad Word

Earlier this week, Relevant Magazine posted an article titled, “Entertainment, Modern Worship and What God Really Desires.” In it, author Jesse Carey praises contemporary church bands like Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Planetshakers, Desperation, and others. While he does acknowledge some issues with the trajectory of modern “worship,” he affirms its usefulness and encourages readers, “Just because something has elements associated with ‘entertainment,’ doesn’t disqualify it from being worshipful. Game fans have reported weeping in response to

Wesley Walker 2
15 Jul 2016

“Here I Am”: An Old Testament Theology of Call

Exodus 3-4 is one of the most breathtaking passages in the Bible. God calls to Moses from a burning bush. Moses’ initial response assumes a submissive posture, “Here I am” (the Hebrew word is hineni). However, upon hearing God’s request that he go to Egypt to deliver the Israelites from slavery to Pharaoh, Moses doubts God’s choice. Even after seeing multiple miraculous signs from God confirming the call, Moses makes excuses for himself, “Pardon your

Wesley Walker 0
23 Oct 2015

A Christian Defense of Dark Films

As a filmgoer whose personal tastes run toward the eccentric and the macabre (Guillermo del Toro and Darren Aronofsky are two of my favorite directors), I’ve seen plenty of films that fall into the “horror” or “dark thriller” category. It saddens me that this genre is often written off by persons of faith as crude and crassly exploitative, and I’ve written elsewhere about the fascinating theological implications that lie beneath its grim exterior. Thus, inspired

John Ehrett 2
29 Jul 2015

Patience: Natural Heart’s-Ivy

Perhaps this is merely my experience, but I grew up hearing that some prayers were dangerous. The prayers for things such as greater boldness in witnessing, further opportunities to give, or greater love for the person who’s a thorn in your side. These prayers have a way of being answered, or rather, of creating opportunities to outwork the desires apparently behind our prayers. Naturally, these opportunities feel uncomfortable and, at times, even hurt a little.

Jeff Reid 0
22 Apr 2015

Mercy: It’s Seriously Wonderful

I have seen the purity and beauty of thy perfect law, the happiness of those in whose heart it reigns, the calm dignity of the walk to which it calls, yet I daily violate and contemn its precepts. Thy loving Spirit strives within me, brings me Scripture warnings, speaks in startling providences, allures by secret whispers, yet I choose devices and desires to my own hurt, impiously resent, grieve, and provoke him to abandon me.1

Jeff Reid 2